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Thursday, August 18, 2016

8/18/16 Olympic National Park Fires Update

Olympic National Park Fires Update 

Cox Valley Fire smoke remains visible from Hurricane Ridge Road
Fire activity moderated Wednesday afternoon, and much less smoke was visible to visitors traveling Hurricane Ridge Road. The Godkin Fire was active only along the southern perimeter with little smoke being produced Wednesday, and little to no smoke visible from the Hayes or Ignar Creek Fires based upon aerial observations from park fire managers.

Fire activity is expected to increase the next few days as hot and dry weather conditions continue over the area. This morning a fire manager flew over the Cox Valley Fire to assess conditions and reported a noticeable increase in smoke.  He verified that the current portion burning is still a small area at the bottom of the fire.  The amount of smoke produced by these fires is not necessarily an indication of rapid fire growth. Even small fires within the park produce larger amounts of smoke due to the extreme quantities of burnable material such as logs, sticks, and deep rotting wood layers on the ground.

Red Flag Warning and Watches issued for fire area
The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for higher elevations in western Washington for Thursday and Friday.  A Red Flag Warning is in effect for western Washington lowlands.  These are due to extremely low humidity, hot temperatures, and breezy conditions.  Humidities will drop into the teens, temperatures in the high 80’s and winds from the north at 10-20 miles per hour.

With the forecasted hot, dry and windy conditions for Thursday and Friday, six fire personnel are stationed near the Hayes River ranger station.  They established lookout points to monitor the Hayes and Godkin Fires. If fire activity escalates over the next few days, they have materials to work closely with the wilderness trail crew to post trail closures and escort hikers away from the fire areas.  Safety of fire personnel and the public is the most important consideration for all decisions related to wildland fire management.

Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest staff wish to remind visitors that camp fires are allowed in designated campgrounds and backcountry areas below 3500 feet elevation. Fires are always banned above 3500 feet elevation. Please remember to always attend the fire and when you leave completely extinguish the fire, cold to the touch. Everyone has an important role in preventing human-caused wildlfires.

Below is a summary of the fires.  All four fires were started by lightning on July 21, 2016.
Fire Name
Cox Valley
Ignar Creek
Initial Report
Mapped size using infrared 8/1/2016
Approx. 90 acres
Approx. 150 acres
Approx. 10 acres
Approx. ½ acre
25 miles south of Port Angeles along the Elwha River
20 miles south of Port Angeles on a ridgeline between the Lost River and Hayes River
Approximately 12 miles south of Port Angeles, near PJ Lake north of Obstruction Point Ridge
Approximately 22 miles northeast of Lake Quinault 

Photos  maps, and previous updates are available online.
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